Mircofracture surgery. No two words are more feared by athletes and fantasy owners. Numerous professionals have undergone this arthroscopic knee procedure, most famously the Phoenix Suns’ Amare Stoudamire in 2005. Recently it was revealed that New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston had microfracture surgery in the offseason. However before you panic and reevaluate your draft strategy, understand that microfracture surgery can be performed at varying locations in the knee. Here is some basic information to help you better understand what to expect if one of your fantasy players undergoes the procedure.
Mircofracture surgery is an arthroscopic knee procedure usually carried out when damage has been sustained to the articular cartilage of the lower two leg bones, the tibia and fibula. However, occasionally the procedure will also be carried out on the kneecap when the cartilage surrounding an athlete’s kneecap, the patella, is damaged as was the case for Colston.
The surgeon first cleans and prepares the cartilage near and at the injury site. Then tiny, microfractures are created in the bone with a surgical tool called an awl. In response to the fractures, the body naturally creates a marrow-filled blood clot to begin fixing the damaged cartilage. After time, the damage is repaired and replaced with new cartilage. While the replacement cartilage is not as strong and durable as the original cartilage it is effective enough to allow a return to activity.
The average recovery time for the surgery depends on the location of the procedure. If repair is done to the tibia or fibula the athlete will likely not return to play for at least four to six months. If a patellar repair is carried out, the recovery time may be slightly reduced and an athlete can return four months later. However it may take six months for a complete return and a brace will likely be worn for the majority of those six months.
Microfracture surgery is becoming commonplace in today’s sports world as numerous athletes including Jason Kidd, Tracy McGrady, Reggie Bush, and Brian Giles have all undergone the procedure. With a little bit of information if may be easier for fantasy owners to prepare themselves on what to expect when one of their players undergoes microfracture surgery.